Skip to main content
11:30 am
serpentine and granite, these figures seem to enact a ritual now forgotten. these carefully buried works of art may be offerings to spirits dwelling deep within the earth. their hidden presence may have charged the sacred precinct with spiritual energy. the olmec world was alive with unseen spirits that controlled all natural phenomena. thunder cracks ) represent the power of these mysterious forces, olmec artists combined features of the most fearsome predators of the jungle, creating hybrid images of awe- inspiring supernatural beings.
11:31 am
irual leer or shans, li humanto the fors controinthe uner. peopleelieved that the sha could sl io eprances and magically transform themselves tohepe oa jaguar transported by thianimal spirit, they roamed e cosmos gaining knowledge that allowed them to ensure rich harvests, heal the sick and protect the community. rulers also claimed the power to mediate between human and spiritual realms. some are shown cradling a supernatural infant-- part human, part jaguar-- who may have been their link to the spiritual world. similar figures appear on sculptures found at la venta thtirlg me to be altars. but decades later, a clue to their true function was discovered far from the coast, at the mntainous site of oxtotitclan.
11:32 am
its name means "place of caves," which ancient mesoamericans regarded as sacred entrances to the underworld, the mythic realm of ancestral and supernatural spirits. a rock painting above the cave mouth shows a ruler wearing a bird mask and feathered costume. his elaborate throne depicts a monstrous supernatural face, similar to those on the so-called alta of la venta, incating thath, too, were ros. prious research proposed that la venta was exclusively a site where priests resided and conducted ritual activities. however, new research has shown that it was a more complex urban area. new speaker: with the new findings, we find a much more dense population, not only on the site, on the ancient city,
11:33 am
but also in the outlying lowland areas. obregon: dr. alez has ao been studying the central pyramid gonzalez: this pyramid is, for this time period--around 400 b.c.-- probly the largest pyramid he oec world at that time. the olmecs seem to haacked earth and then held it in place by rows of limestone. obregon: electronic sounding devices have detected a dense, rectangular object, possibly a tb, close to the summit. futu excavations may reveal that this manmade mountain was ri mou fo olm rer. the extrrdinary achievements at la venta and san lorenz were long thought toe uniqueo the cotal lowlands. but ongoing excavations far from the coast indicate otherwise. in the shadow of the volcano popocatepetl in the mexican highlands
11:34 am
chalcatzingo, a ancient regional center at i height om arnd 700 to 0 b.c. new speaker: chalcatzin is a uniq site in the central mexican highlands. it's the only site in the highlands withas-relief carvings in the olm style the anent village of chalcatzingo, set on a terraced hillside-- these were large terraces, perhaps 100 by 100 meters each, at the largest. below the main terrace is a ge platform mound. is a large rectgular platform, over 70 mers lon platrmounds e ry speal features. unlike a pyramid, a platform can be considered to be a raised stage on which performances, rituals, were carried out that could be viewed by the entire population. a large stone slab carved with an earth monster face with a hollow mouth sat on the northern edge of that platform mound, again where it was visible
11:35 am
to the houses on all the terraces below. i can almost imagine a ritual with people moving through that open mouth of that carving. obregon: higher up the volcanic ss is a rief sculpture that t local pple call "el y," the king. like the tes ala venta, it shows the figure seated within a cave. grov above the cave are three trobedn ouds. this is a fantastic rain and fertility scene up on the hillside. it's placed right beside the major drainage of rainwater runoff from the hillside. thhiside cvi em to ben petions to ensure ertility for peopel onhear weshe cvi ths ryonent,n petions which call the "flying olme" when i first saw it, i noticed that the headdress on the flying person was very much like nument 19 in la vea.
11:36 am
not identical, but they were carved in the same way. so there is a connection in some of the art at chaltzingo with la venta's art. thlocation of chalcatzingo, a huge series of valley systems coming together, sort of suggests that maybe chalcaingo functioned as a gateway city through which goods from across central mexico, and perhaps even western mexico, funneled into chalcatzingo and then moved eastward toward the gulf coast. obre in the valley of mexico,n the tskirts ofexico city, archaeologts have excavated graves from about 900 b.c. containing clay figures and pottery of the olmec style. other olmec objects have been found in the surrounding highlands and as far south as honduras and costa rica. the wide distribution of olmec works of art suggests that many centers participated in the development of the style.
11:37 am
distt vies were evidentlyy linked through trade in cacao, white clay for pottery, obsidian, animal skins, and the most precious commodity of all, jade. its nearest known source is in guatemala. this vast tradg network paved the way for the exchange of ideas aselas goo, and led to the ergence of a pan-mesoameran olmec style. miguel covarrubias defined this new aesthetic: "olmec artists were mainly concerned with simplicity and sensual realism of form, with the human being made up of solid, ample masses. they delighted in the smooth, highly polished surfaces of their jades, broken occasionally by fine, incised lines. these lines are sharp and precise."
11:38 am
this new style, vigorous and original, was perhaps the finest olmec achievement. they created dynamic works of art with a strength and nobility never known before in the americas. the olmec legacy is still being explored, but olmec works of art have been found at maya and aztec sites. did later civilizations preserve olmec jades simply for the value of this precious material, or did they keep them as treasured relics from a culture that influenced their own? only future excavations will tell. but major discoverieare being unearthed each year, brinng us closer t a fuller understanding of that extraordinary culture we call olmec. ( nave drums beating )
11:39 am
( music )
11:40 am
11:41 am
11:42 am
11:43 am
11:44 am
11:45 am
11:46 am
11:47 am
11:48 am
11:49 am
11:50 am
11:51 am
11:52 am
11:53 am
11:54 am
11:55 am
11:56 am
11:57 am
11:58 am
11:59 am
you have the right to remain silent. you have the right to be heard. anything you say can be used against you... what you say will be listened to with dignity and respect. you have the right to information and assistance. [ cell door closes ] justice isn't served until crime victims are.

Mosaic World News
LINKTV October 16, 2012 11:30am-12:00pm PDT

News/Business. English news reports from Middle Eastern broadcasters.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Mexico 3, Chalcatzingo 3, La Venta 2, Americas 1, Jade 1, Nument 1, La Vea 1, Olmec 1, La Venta Thtirlg 1, Peopel Onhear Weshe Cvi 1, Ros 1, Popocatepetl 1, Cvi Em 1, Om Arnd 1, Uniq 1, Li Humanto 1, The King 1, Cosmos 1, Ben Petions 1, Guatemala 1
Network LINKTV
Duration 00:30:00
Rating PG-13;V
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
In Collection
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 10/16/2012